Monday, May 27, 2013

Finding Happiness in the Woods and in Books

I feel a little manic. The last week has brought beautiful, cornflower blue skies, warm days, sunny nights, flip flops, backyard barbecues with friends, learning to ride a pedal bike and walks in the woods. I am elated. I am feeling so, so happy. I feel like I can handle this (whatever this happens to be on any given day), that everything is as it should be. I feel calm and Zen and happy to be bringing my girls outside again, for the morning, the afternoon, and all day sometimes. It is a stark contrast to the lows of winter, the melancholy that comes with cold, darkness, frost and night. Definite yang up in here and I'm loving it.

My favourite has to be bringing Hailey and Robin outside. They are walking well enough that I thought I could bring them into the woods, take them out of their stroller and let them play. I was so pleased to see them discover the woods-- our woods. Picking up dirt, rocks, pine needles and sticks. Asking me what they are by holding these new treasures up high and asking, "Dis?"

They loved being free. It was nice and cool under the shade of the trees (that are just beginning to sprout leaves, can you imagine?), and on a weekday morning, we had the place to ourselves. We were all truly free from any schedule, appointment or to-dos. We were free to explore the forest, so that's what my little girls did, and I loved watching them soak it all in.

Taking my kids outside to play, no toys, no snack, just playing, is my favourite. It reminds me that they don't need more than I can provide to be happy. It makes me feel peaceful to see that the forest floor can be such a treasure-filled kingdom in the eyes of a child. I am so glad we have easy access to this greenbelt to take family hikes on a regular basis. Whether wearing new babies in carriers, pushing them along in offroading strollers, or watching them learn to move by their own steam, we are enjoying the woods together as a family and all the more happy for it, I think. 

As I start to think of the next place we might live (which is still, for those of you wondering, a big hypothetical), I realize how important access to a forest is. Size doesn't really matter, but I see many layers of growth and understanding develop in Abby and now in Hailey and Robin by taking playtime into the woods. Beats a park any day (though we also love us some park play dates with friends!)

The other pattern I've noticed is the residual effects of reading to Abby from infancy. She resisted it at first (as she did most things), but we have continued to read stories before bedtime and nap, during the day, and in moments when a little comfort and distraction is needed. She sees Rich and I read our own books and often pulls one of her faves off the shelf to sit and read quietly, unprompted. Now, Hailey and Robin have their favourite books they will violently yank off the shelf (what other way is there for a toddler?) and parade it to me, arm outstretched. I let them perch on what lap I have left and we read the same book, over and over, because it makes them happy. Seeing this early love for books makes me pretty happy, too.

Abby loves reading to her sisters

Lots to be happy about in these parts. 


  1. that reading pictures is priceless! LOVE it!

  2. You have some truly entertaining and amazing photos. Their perspectives have left me unintentionally gazelocked more than once here already. Great work!


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